My ‘Vacation’ from Hell
Recently, I got back from my so called 'vacation'. Actually, it was no vacation at all. It has subsequently been re-titled the vacation from hell. From this point on, we'll refer to it as VFH.The excitement for this vacation had been building for weeks. I'm with the love of my life, and I finally get to take some time off from work and bask in the warm sun and sand. What a buzz kill! It started from the moment we got on the plane.
On this particular air carrier, I'll refer to them as Ghetto Air from here on out, you must pay extra to sit with your traveling partner. Additionally, we paid extra to sit in an exit row for more leg room. But that's not where our seats were. The sweet flight attendant told us this happens a lot. And joked that because I planned the entire trip and took care of all the reservations and activities, she hoped the rest of our time wasn't as frustrating. She told us many passengers are upset because Ghetto Air’s online diagram is a lie. Fast forward... we're in mid-flight when I spill an entire can of Coke all over Michael and inside my duffel bag.
Finally, we're in Hawaii! We pick up our rental car and head to our hotel (not so easy to find). Checking in can't be that difficult... Right? WRONG! I booked the cute boutique hotel (the pictures on their site were fabulous, the reviews were 4 stars, too), just a block away from the beach. I was told we would be on the top floor with a view of the ocean. Surprise! An extra $50 every night in hidden fees and taxes. This was going to cost us more than a big name hotel on the beach! We had to park our car (parking is quite the costly fee in Waikiki.) The hotel's parking lot was full. We were given horrendous directions to the off-site parking lot. After driving around for a half hour, we found it, and lugged our luggage the half-mile back to the hotel.
Opening up the door to our room, a look of dismay was on both our faces. There was NO ocean view. The mattress was on the floor. The room was the size of my closet. We had to bend down to take showers as the water from the shower head slowly trickled out. The room had a faint smell of urine... And when I moved my bag to dress for dinner... A cockroach scurried out of the wall.
We decided we would be finding a new home base starting early the next morning. And we really had no idea just how early that would be.
We were famished. We ventured out on the Waikiki strip and chose a familiar pizza place. We were seated at what felt like the little kids table as herds of people huddled near the mounted plywood screwed to the wall (the restaurant evidently calls it a table) while we enjoyed overpriced, poorly mixed drinks and pizza at nearly $6 a slice.
We called it an early night, in bed by midnight. I lay there trying to make sure my mouth wouldn't open while I slept, worried about the roaches and other creepy crawlers that most likely would come out to feed on me while the lights were off.
3:30 in the morning, BEEEEEEP...... BEEEEEEEPPPP.........BEEEEEEPPPPP. The jarring sound of our in-room fire detector was going off. (It's supposedly some federal offense to disarm one of these things in a hotel room.) We couldn't wait for the off-duty maintenance man to bring us a new battery... So someone (we won’t mention who) took the battery out.
An hour later we're woken up again to the sounds of arguing and the familiar noise of a garbage truck... Yes, we heard this on the ninth floor... Because instead of glass windows, there was Plexiglass covering the open parts of the wall, offering no barrier to the great outdoors.
We checked out and switched to the Marriott, where we decided to have breakfast. My choice was a $14 bowl of oatmeal. Dropping our bags in the room, we changed and were ready for the fun to begin. Our first Hawaii adventure on the list: Para-sailing. While waiting outside the hotel for the valet to bring our rental car to us, we witnessed a bad accident. "Oh my God, Michael, that sucks for them!" He agreed and then it dawned on me. "Oh *expletive*!!! That's our car!"
We spent the rest of the day dealing with police and insurance companies (we found out after the trip that even though we weren’t driving, the man at fault does not have insurance, so we are now responsible for repairs to the rental car). The valet helped Michael load up the bumper pieces in the backseat of the damaged P.O.S. and we drive to the airport to return the clunker. This day is completely shot as it took hours to deal with police, the hotel, insurance companies, etc.
At this point I realize my credit card is GONE! I promptly cancel it and have another one shipped to the hotel. Some other crazy stuff happened the next day, but I won’t bore you with those details.
Another day and another opportunity to start our vacation on a new foot. We're ready to go snorkeling. We rent our snorkel gear, giving them my ID as collateral. After a couple hours we're forced to leave as a strong storm moves in. I've sliced my hand open on some coral and somehow Michael's toe is badly infected. It’s time to go.
Returning to the hotel room, I get all dolled up for a nice night out, going to a fabulous restaurant with views of the entire island. I order a drink and get carded... That's when I realize… My I.D. isn’t there! After retracing our steps, and driving around the island to every place we've stopped, no luck. My friends overnight me my passport, adding to our already expensive trip.
Bring on another day, Hawaii! Michael decides we're going to see the Manta Rays feed at night. He can’t seem to find it in his phone's GPS as we drive away from the hotel. He asks for my help as he navigates our way to the highway. Turns out the GPS wasn't the problem, he booked the night sail for an entirely different island. There goes a few hundred more dollars!
Back at the hotel we regroup.
Three days after checking out of the disaster of a hotel, we go back for dinner and drinks. (I had purchased a Groupon and I wasn't going to let my purchase go to waste.) We sat for nearly an hour having a cocktail, while the waitress told us the kitchen was experiencing "extreme technical difficulties and could not order food."
We are so over the crowds, the disappointment and the dissatisfaction of our 'dream vacation' that has quickly turned into a VFH!
Returning the rental car is a huge mess since this is our second car and our first was involved in an accident. We narrowly miss our flight out... As we're talking about how great it will be to get home, the flight attendant informs us, bad weather will cause the plane to divert to Boise. With no clean clothes, broken spirits, and no cash left, we wait for hours as we get our luggage and wait in the cold for a shuttle to take us to another hotel.
Friday, we are at the airport with time to spare, luggage checked in and at the gate ready to board to get home. Again, we're told our plane won't be taking off for two more hours as we wait for weather updates (normal airlines can land in this fog, but Ghetto Air only has the cheap equipment installed in their planes). We can see the fog in Boise is only getting worse and decide to rent a car and make the long journey to Spokane. We have been given this option and told we would be reimbursed (that has still not happened and is entirely another story). We are told our bags will be taken off momentarily. Fast forward four hours as we are still waiting for our luggage. Soft-spoken Michael goes to ask when we can expect them. He's told it's an inconvenience to the airline, when another passenger butts in and starts name calling. Michael nearly got arrested by Boise Police inside the terminal. Is this really happening?
Fast forward to 7 PM Friday night. We've spent the entire day waiting in the airport. We finally collect our bags and head to our rental car. $200+ dollars. The long drive to Spokane still ahead. We drop off the car and call for our shuttle for the off-site parking where our truck is parked. Our receipt cannot be found at their office, thus they are unsure where our car is parked and can't pick us up until they come across the claim check. The clock nears 1 AM as I plead with the lady on the line to come get us, explaining that can find where we have parked our vehicle if they just come get us... My patience is waning.
Fast forward a few hours later and we have arrived home in Missoula. WHEW! Home Sweet Home!
I've told this story a few times so far, and each time my blood pressure goes from normal to extremely high as I recall the traumatic events.
There were redeeming qualities of our VFH, but not many. While we continued to try and look on the bright side, things just kept tumbling downhill. However, all in all, I couldn't have chosen a better partner in crime to experience all the Island had to 'offer' us. This case of a slurry of unfortunate events would bring out the worst in many people. Instead, it made me realize more than anything, this man is the guy for me! He is the one I want to marry… If we could get through this with jokes, laughs and smiles, I think we can get through anything.